SETDA Response to President’s FY18 Budget
President Trump released his proposed FY18 Budget. Sadly, this proposal eliminates several important Federal education programs. Of particular interest to state digital learning leaders is the elimination of the Student Support and Academic Enrichment (SSAE) Grants, also known as Title IVa of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The SSAE Grant program focuses on Whole Child Education, Safe and Healthy Students, and the Effective Use of Technology. When ESSA was authorized, Title IVa was authorized at $1.65 billion. However, for FY 17 only $400 million was budgeted. This limited funding model would mean that many school districts would receive very little or no funds at all unless a state awards the funds via block grants to enable a few districts to use the funds for meaningful work. The FY17 funding level is the rationale used by the President to justify elimination of the grant program.
“Learning in the 21st Century means leveraging digital content, tools, and applications to best meet each student’s needs. However, teachers need to understand how to effectively harness these resources to maximize student learning,” notes Tracy Weeks, Executive Director of SETDA. “This budget takes away a vital funding source for schools, districts, and states.”
SETDA calls on Congress not only to continue to fund Title IVa, but to fund it at its fully authorized level of $1.6 Billion.